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An outbreak can be defined as two or more cases of infection occurring around the same time, in residents and/or their carers or an increase in the number of cases normally observed. The commonest outbreaks are due to viral respiratory infections and gastroenteritis.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) and infection prevention and control

See the latest information for care providers, to support you in managing staff and supporting service users. 

It's important to recognise potential outbreaks promptly, and for care staff to implement control measures as soon as possible to prevent further cases. Staff must be aware of the signs of infection, particularly in the elderly, e.g. fever, diarrhoea or vomiting, unexpected falls and confusion. They must also know to report these signs immediately to senior management staff when they occur.

Some infectious diseases may spread readily to other residents, members of staff or relatives causing outbreaks. Care homes should have a documented outbreak plan appropriate to the services provided, detailing the actions to be taken in the event of an outbreak.

The Action Checklists below have been produced by the LACIPCS to assist staff in the management of outbreaks. They are based on the latest evidence-based practice and national and local guidance. They are updated when guidance changes, so please check that you are using the latest version. The Action Checklists can be adapted to suit individual care homes. It is recommended that the completed documents are retained as evidence of how an outbreak has been managed, and sight of them may be requested by CQC inspectors, local authority contract officers or infection prevention nurses.

Guidance for dealing with an outbreak

Action checklist for outbreaks of cdi  Opens new window

Action checklist for outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting   Opens new window

Action checklist for a respiratory outbreak   Opens new window

Action checklist for outbreaks of scabies (single case)   Opens new windo

Further reading

Influenza-like illness (ILI): managing outbreaks in care homes –

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